Teaching with Poverty in Mind Handout Presented by Chris Shade Based upon Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids Brains and What Schools Can Do about It by Eric Jensen See also http://www.jensenlearning.com/ Before I begin, I have a few “norms”. First of all, if you’re going to make it through one of my sessions, you need caffeine.
Next, if you have a smart phone, get it out; and if I am not engaging or if I donot present relevant information, you have my permission to use it duringthe session. As an administrator and member of the Curriculum andInstruction Department, I believe I must practice what we preach. Modelbest practices. And if I do not, you are free to check out.Two things I know you want to know…What time will you finish?
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In the US, the official poverty thresholds are set by the Office ofManagement and Budget (OMB).FR lunch form.In his book, Teaching with Poverty in Mind, Eric Jensen defines povertyas “a chronic and debilitating condition that results from multipleadverse synergistic risk factors and affects the mind, body, and soul.” 6Minimum wage is $7.25/hour. The cost of living is $14.90. To make a livingon minimum wage, you need more than one job.There are different types of poverty. Situational poverty is generallycaused by a sudden crisis or loss and is often temporary. Eventscausing situational poverty include environmental disasters, divorce,or severe health problems. 6
Generational poverty occurs in families where at least two generationshave been born into poverty. Families living in this type of poverty arenot equipped with the tools to move out of their situations. 6Absolute poverty, which is rare in the US, involves a scarcity of suchnecessities as shelter, running water, and food. Families who live inabsolute poverty tend to focus on day-to-day survival. 6Urban poverty occurs in areas with at least 50,000 people. The urbanpoor deal with a complex aggregate of chronic stressors (includingcrowding, violence, and noise) and are dependent on often-inadequate large-city services. 6
Rural poverty occurs in nonmetropolitan areas with populations below50,000. In rural areas, there are more single-guardian households, andfamilies often have less access to services, support for disabilities, andquality education opportunities. 6
Are emotions in our DNA, hardwired and present at birth? Theemotions of anger, fear, disgust, surprise, joy, and sadness arehardwired. All others including humility, forgiveness, empathy,optimism, compassion, sympathy, patience, shame, cooperation, andgratitude are taught.
The emotional brain can be represented by a keyboard on which children from poverty use fewer keys than well-off children.The emotional brain can be represented by a keyboard on Many kids don’t have the full emotional range to respond well unlesswhich children from poverty use fewer keys than well-offchildren. they are taught how to respond in class. Emotional needs include attunement (parents reactiveness to their childrens emotions);
attachment (safe, trustworthy relationships which builds faith in others); and emotional punctuation (to help the brain identify what’s correct, positive and worth saving).Kids from poverty get less attunement time. Kids from poverty get less attunement time. Attunement is theAttunement is the establishment of a positive,reciprocal, relationship with the primary establishment of a positive, reciprocal, relationship with the primarycaregiver. caregiver. This quality time provides the basis for learning the non- hardwired socially appropriate emotions.
Consistent and To grow up emotionally healthy, children under 3 needunconditional love,guidance, and support • A strong, reliable primary caregiver who provides consistent andSafe, predictable, unconditional love, guidance, and supportstable environments • Safe, predictable, stable environments10-20 hours each weekof harmonious, • 10-20 hours each week of harmonious, reciprocal interactionsreciprocal interactions (attachment)Enrichment throughpersonalized, • Enrichment through personalized, increasingly complex activities 15increasingly complexactivities Deficits in these areas inhibit the production of new brain cells, alter the path of maturation, and rework the healthy neural circuitry in children’s brains, thereby undermining emotional and social development and predisposing them to emotional dysfunction. 16 In many poor households, parental education is substandard, time is short, and warm emotions are at a premium—all factors that put the attachment process at risk. Caregivers tend to be overworked, overstressed, and authoritarian with children using the same harsh disciplinary strategies used by their own parents. They often lack warmth and sensitivity and fail to form solid, healthy relationships with their children. 16 The Social Animal Clip
Beginning at birth, the attachment formed between parent Beginning at birth, the attachment formed between parent and childand child predicts the quality of future relationships with…YOU! predicts the quality of future relationships with teachers and peers and plays a leading role in the development of such social functions as curiosity, arousal, emotional regulation, independence, and social competence. 15 …which is great, if your kids won the “parent lottery”.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHILDREN’S STORIES? Kids “download” the negatives of chaos, disharmony, poor relationships, foul language, poor manners, and weak vocabulary just as quickly and just as automatically as they would any positive or enrichment input. From ages 0-5, the world is downloaded into the brain. Highly immature frontal lobes are unable to delete or reframe any negative input.Weak or anxious attachments formed by Weak or anxious attachments formed by infants in poverty becomeinfants in poverty become the basis forfull-blown insecurity. the basis for full-blown insecurity during the early childhood years. 15 In impoverished families there tends to be a higher prevalence of such adverse factors as teen motherhood, depression, and inadequate health care, all of which lead to decreased sensitivity toward the infant and, later, poor school performances and behavior on the child’s part. 15
In many poor Deficits in these areas inhibit the production of new brain cells, alterhouseholds,parental education the path of maturation, and rework the healthy neural circuitry inis substandard…time is short… children’s brains, thereby undermining emotional and socialwarm emotions are development and predisposing them to emotional dysfunction. 16at a premium...all factors that putthe attachmentprocess at risk.Caregivers tend to be overworked,overstressed, and authoritarianusing the same harsh disciplinarystrategies used by their parents.Higher prevalence of In impoverished families there tends to be a higher prevalence of suchteen motherhood…depression… adverse factors as teen motherhood, depression, and inadequateinadequate health care… health care, all of which lead to decreased sensitivity toward the infant and, later, poor school performances and behavior on the child’s part.all of which lead to 15decreased sensitivitytoward the infant and,later, poor schoolperformancesand behavior on thechild’s part.
Low SES children also have fewer cognitive-enrichment opportunities. They have fewer books at home, visit the library less often, and spend considerably more time watching TV than their middle-income counterparts do. 8 Have fewer books. Visit library less often. Experience fewer cognitive-rich opportunities. Have less conversation. Watch more TV. Help raise younger siblings. Hear less responsive, fewer supportive, less interactive home conversations. Get less quality time and less total time from their parents or caregivers…that’s stressful. (9 in handout) Low SES children are often left home to fend for themselves and their younger siblings while their caregivers work long hours; compared with their well-off peers, they spend less time playing outdoors andKids of poverty have fewer enrichment opportunities...children won’t get the model from watching cartoons more time watching television and are less likely to participate in after-school activities. 16 The world of childrearing is changing. At the same time that parents work more hours, television is viewed more, media violence is pervasive, TV even has the “Baby Channel” and infants are learning emotional responses from other infants in child care…teachers are more pressured for high stakes academic testing which leaves little time for a child’s emotional development. (9 in handout) They need warm person-to-person interactions. 16 VOCABULARY GAP Welfare Working Class Professional 2150 1250 620 Words per hour
***Build vocabulary every single day.• Use words that are on the tests and get their attention• Have a word for the day (i.e. Tenille’s word of the day on her shirt)• Give students credit for sharing their weekly word with 3 others• Writing assignments with new words• Kids say, “caught you” for word recognition games with the teacher• Double credit for kids speaking or writing the new word• Teacher role models complex words• Give examples they can use as adults in everyday life• Build on more of the rich vocabulary of children’s book authors using pictures and predictions• Daily manipulation of morphemes with word roots such as take “sing” (V) + er = singer or vaccine (N) + ate = vaccinate (N) or migrate (V) + ory = migratory (ADJ)A food desert is a district with little or no access to foods needed tomaintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast foodrestaurants.The concept of access may be interpreted in three ways.Physical access to shops can be difficult if the shops are distant, theshopper is elderly or infirm, the area has many hills, public transportlinks are poor, and the consumer has no car. Also, the shop may beacross a busy road, difficult to cross with children or with underpassesthat some fear to use because of a crime risk. For some, such asdisabled people, the inside of the shop may be hard to accessphysically if there are steps up or the interior is cramped with no roomfor walking aids. Carrying fresh food home may also be hard for some.Financial access is difficult if the consumer lacks the money to buyhealthful foods (generally more expensive, calorie for calorie, than lesshealthful, sugary, and fatty junk foods) or if the shopper cannot affordthe bus fare to remote shops selling fresh foods and instead uses localfast food outlets. Other forms of financial access barriers may beinability to afford storage space for food, or for the very poor, living intemporary accommodation that does not offer good cooking facilities.Mental attitude or food knowledge of the consumer may preventthem accessing fresh vegetables. They may lack cooking knowledge orhave the idea that eating a healthful diet isnt important.
Toddlers from middle and Toddlers from middle and upper income families actually used more upper income families actually used more words words in talking to their parents than low SES mothers used in talking in talking to their parents that low SES mothers to their own children. (Bracey, 2006) (22 in handout) used in talking to their own children.Often, poor Often, poor children live in chaotic, unstable households. There arechildren live inchaotic, more likely to come from single-guardian homes, and their parentsunstable, andless emotionally and caregivers tend to be less emotionally responsive. 8responsivehouseholds. Developing children need reliable caregivers who offer high predictability, or their brains will typically develop adverse adaptive responses. 8 Precious
Chronic exposure to poverty causes the brain to physically Chronic exposure to poverty causes the brain to physically change in achange in a detrimental manner. detrimental manner. 2 Poverty involves a complex array of risk factors that adversely affect the population in multiple ways. The four primary risk factors are • Emotional and social challenges • Acute and chronic stressors • Cognitive lags • Health and safety issues 7 The prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, crucial for learning, cognition, and working memory, are the areas of the brain most affected by cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” Experiments have demonstrated that exposure to chronic or acute stress actually shrinks neurons in the brain’s frontal lobes—an area that includes the prefrontal cortex and is responsible for such functions as making judgments, planning, and regular impulsivity—and can modify and impair the hippocampus in ways that reduce learning. 25 The production of “fight-or-flight” stress hormones in these children atrophies the areas that control emotional regulation, empathy, social function, and other skills imperative to healthy emotional development. 25 Chronic stress not only diminishes the complexity of neurons in the frontal lobe and the hippocampus but also increases the complexity of neurons in the amygdala, the brain’s emotion center. This increased complexity may make the stressed brain’s neurons far more sensitive to memory modulation than neurons in the nonstressed brains. In chronically stressed kids, the combined effects on the hippocampus and the amygdala may be precisely what facilitates emotional memory (the aspect of memory that encompasses highly salient memories of events such as divorce, abuse, trauma, death, or abandonment) and reduces declarative memory (the aspect of memory that stores standard knowledge and learning). 25-26
Although childhood is generally considered to be a time of joyful, carefree exploration, children living in poverty tend to spend less time finding out about the world around them. Poor children have fewer and less-supportive networks than their more affluent counterparts do; live in neighborhoods that are lower in social capital; and, as adolescents, are more likely to rely on peers thanChildren living in poverty tend to spend less time finding outabout the world around them. on adults for social and emotional support. 8 Although childhood is generally considered to be a time of joyful, carefree exploration, children living in poverty tend to spend less time finding out about the world around them. Poor children have fewer and less-supportive networks than their more affluent counterparts do; live in neighborhoods that are lower in social capital; and, as adolescents, are more likely to rely on peers thanChildren living in poverty tend to spend less time finding outabout the world around them. on adults for social and emotional support. 8 MOVE SLIDE ***Busy, urban environments demand constant attention, decision- making, and redirection. (Analogy: Think of being in traffic and the stress it creates. Imagine doing your work in the car while driving. Analogy: Moving to the country…some prefer the slow pace. Why?) Walking in nature or viewing calm pictures of nature can improve directed-attention abilities. (45 in handout)
A child who comes from a stressful home environment tends to channel that stress into disruptive behavior at school and be less able to develop a healthy social and academic life. Impulsivity, for example, is a common disruptive classroom behavior among low-SES students. But it’s actually an exaggerated response to stress that serves as a survival mechanism: in conditions of poverty, those most likely to survive are those who have an exaggerated stress response. Each risk factor in a student’s life increases impulsivity and diminishes his or her capacity to defer gratification. 26-27Children raised in poverty And their Children raised in poverty rarely choose to behave differently, but theyrarely choose to behave brains havedifferently, but they are are faced daily with overwhelming challenges that affluent children adapted tofaced daily with suboptimaloverwhelming challenges never have to confront, and their brains have adapted to suboptimal conditions inthat affluent children never ways that conditions in ways that undermine good school performance. 14have to confront. undermine good school performance.Up to 35% more daily hassles… Students raised in poverty are especially subject to stressors that3x more likely to live in crowded homes…evicted 5x as much… undermine school behavior and performance. The stress resultingmove 2x as often…50% more likely to from transience—frequent short-distance, poverty-related moves—experience neglect… also impair students’ ability to succeed in school and engage inand 80% more likelyto experience positive social interactions. Whereas middle-class families usuallysexual abuse move for social or economic improvement, the moves of low-income households are typically not voluntary. In addition to increasing children’s uncertainty about the future, these moves compound their stress load by disrupting their social interactions both within the community and in academic environments. 27 Children in poor families move 2x as often, get evicted 5x as much, 3x more likely to live in crowded homes, and experience more chronic stress and up to 35% more daily hassles. (16 in handout)
In many cases, low-achieving high school students report a sense ofalienation from their schools. Believing that no one cares or that theirteachers don’t like them or talk down to them, students will often giveup on academics. Kids raised in poverty are more likely to lack—andneed—a caring, dependable adult in their lives, and often it’s teachersto whom children look for that support. 11Because the brain is designed to adapt from experience, it can alsochange for the better. In other words, poor children can experienceemotional, social, and academic success. Although many factors affectacademic success, certain key ones are especially effective in turningaround students raised in poverty. 2***Strategies for working memory: 1) www.cogmed.com; 2) call-response songs; 3) games (Simon Says, cards, etc.); 4) clappingrepeats; 5) repeat the directions; 6) partner/group activities withnumber add-ons; 7) repeat prior effort, then add a sound, word, orsentence; 8) partner, buddy, or teacher speaks, student writes thecontent (43 in handout)Ask teachers in unsuccessful schools why low-SES kids usually don’tsucceed, and they will often blame students’ poverty, decry theviolence in the neighborhood, explain away students’ lack ofmotivation, or point fingers at parents’ neglect.Their reasons, in other words, amount to stories and excuses. 80
Behavior geneticists commonly claim that DNA accounts for 30-50% of our behaviors…an estimate that leaves 50-70% explained by environment. 13 Epigenetics—the study of heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in primary DNA sequence—blurs the line between nature and nurture. 13-14 The “old” way of thinking believed it was 50% genes and 50% environment. The “new” thinking is that 30-40% is genes, 30% is gene/environment interaction, and 30-40% environment. (30 in handout)Teachers don’t need to come from their students’ cultures to Teachers don’t need to come from their students’ cultures to be ablebe able to teach them, but empathy and cultural knowledgeare essential. to teach them, but empathy and cultural knowledge are essential. 11 Think of your favorite Hollywood teacher. Who? Why?
Hope changes brain chemistry. Hope changes brain chemistry. 112 Hope is positive expectancy. It increases mood and persistence, which increases results. Even if you do everything else right, if the student doesn’t think you believe in him/her, you’ll lose ground. (51 in handout) Provide hope and support. Any student who feels “less-than” cognitively is likely not only to struggle academically, but also to be susceptible to such secondary issues as acting out, getting bullied or becoming a bully, having lower self-esteem, or having feelings of depression or helplessness. Ensure that teachers build supportive relationships, provide positive guidance, foster hope and optimism, and take time for affirmation and celebration. 41 One possible and dire consequence of unrelenting hopelessness is learned helplessness, which is not a genetic phenomenon but an adaptive response to life conditions. Because of these persistent feelings of inadequacy, individuals will remain passive even when they actually have the power to change their circumstances. Hope and learned optimism are crucial factors in turning low-SES students into high achievers. 113 Research suggests that hopefulness can be taught…an engaged life— the value of participation, not passivity; and a meaningful life—how to focus on the things that matter most and get outside yourself with service work and volunteering. Other strategies that build hope include: • Using daily affirmations • Asking to hear students’ hopes and offering reinforcement of those hopes • Telling students specifically why they can succeed • Providing needed academic resources (e.g. paper and pencils, computer time) • Helping students to set goals and build goal-getting skills • Telling true stories of hope about people to whom students can relate • Offering help, encouragement, and caring as often as needed • Teaching students life skills in small daily chunks • Avoiding complaining about students’ deficits (if they don’t have it, teach it) • Treating all the kids in your class as potentially gifted • Building academic, emotional, and social assets in students. 116 • Say things like “when you graduate…” not “if you graduate” or “with an extra hour of effort, you should be able to finish that up.”
Understand that children raised in poverty are more likely to Understand that children raised in poverty are more likely to displaydisplay...• Acting out behaviors • Acting out behaviors• Impatience and impulsivity• Gaps in politeness and • Impatience and impulsivity social graces • Gaps in politeness and social graces• A more limited range of behavioral responses • A more limited range of behavioral responses• Inappropriate emotional responses • Inappropriate emotional responses• Less empathy for others’ misfortunes • Less empathy for others’ misfortunes 19 Many schools rely on power and authority rather than positive relationships to get students to behave or perform well. The problem with the coercion approach is simple: the weaker the relationships, the more resources and authority you need to get the same job done. 93Ask yourself whether the discipline Avoid criticizing student impulsivity and “me first” behaviors. Askprocess is positive and thereforeincreases the chances for better yourself whether the discipline process is positive and thereforefuture behavior, or whether it’spunitive and therefore reduces the increases the chances for better future behavior, or whether it’schances for better future behavior. punitive and therefore reduces the chances for better future behavior. 30
***Avoid such directives such as “Do this right now!” Instead, maintain expectations while offering choice and soliciting input (e.g. “Would you rather do your rough draft now or gather some more ideas first?”) 21 Giving children choices is one way to be assertive while empowering children at the same time. Any time you give an assertive command, you could just as well have given two choices. (from Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey)Give kids ***Those in poverty typically have dysregulated stress responseappropriatelyincreasing systems. You must give kids appropriately increasing amounts ofamounts of control over their lives at school and teach coping skills. (18 incontrol overtheir lives at handout)school andteach copingskills. To a child, his/her issue (moving, experiencing divorce, new school, new year, new grade, pet died, left stuffed animal behind), to an adult, this seems small, but to a child, it is similar to and adult losing his job or a big contract. All of these things happen to a child, we went them to ___. The child feels like, “Give me a break.” and you set up a power struggle. (from Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey) ***5 steps in delivering 2 positive choices: 1) Breathe deeply. Think about what you want the child to do. Make a conscious decision. 2) Tell the child, “You have a choice.” in an upbeat tone. Your positive attitude will lighten up the situation, especially if the child seems resistant. It will also help the child in perceiving the options as choices. For older children you might say, “Seems to me you have a couple of choices.” 3) State the 2 choices you have created to achieve your goal. Say, “You may ___ or you may ___.” For older children you might say, “Feel free to ___ or ___. What would be better for you?” 4) Complete the process by asking the child for a commitment. You might say, “What is your choice?” If the child hesitates, you may want to repeat Step 3. 5) Notice the child’s choice. (Give it language.) Do this by saying, “You chose ___.” in a very encouraging voice with loving intent. Be sure to make this final comment. It will bring crucial awareness to the child about his choice. Remember, most people make their choices unconsciously and end up feeling controlled by life. Children who are aware of their choices will not only feel less controlled, but will have greater self-control. Practice.
***5 steps to prevent a power struggle: 1) Give a clear command suchAvoid power struggles. as “It’s time to ___.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” 2) Offer 2 choices. (See section on choices.) 3) Offer empathy such as “It’s hard to ___. You wish you could ___. It is difficult to ___.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically. 4) Look for signs of the child’s body relaxing then repeat Step 2. If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” If s/he does not, go to Step 5. 5) Use force, stay calm, and emphatically add words/language to their feelings in order to take the power out of the struggle. (This gives them understanding and thus gives them something to be in charge of (i.e. their point of view). Say, “You are very angry with me. This is hard for you. Could it be that you want to show me that I can’t make you ___? If so, you are right. I can’t make you. The decision is yours.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” If s/he does not comply, say, “You are right. I can’t make you. You are in charge of your own choices.” and turn and walk away. Do not turn and look back. ***Helping children who resist the given structure: Some children will use the structured choice you offer as an opportunity for a power struggle. Such children, when offered two options, consistently create a third option in order to maintain control of the situation. Asked to pick A or B, s/he chooses C. You might say, “Megan, you have a choice. You may ___ or ___.” At this point the child chooses option C and simply bolts off. ***To help a child who resists structured choices for developmental reasons, do the following: • Realize that if you allow yourself to be dragged into a power struggle, you have become part of the problem, not the solution. To avoid this trip, take a deep breath, become conscious of your thoughts, and focus on what you want the child to do. ONCE YOU SLIP INTO FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T WANT (STOP CRYING, STOP TALKING, STOP HITTING, ETC.) YOU WILL BE IN THE POWER STRUGGLE. • Once you are in control of yourself, recognize that the child will or will not choose to operate within your framework. Coercion is the problem, not the answer. Consciously choose to rely on the power of free will. You both have a choice of how to behave. You can control your actions but not others. • Use the parroting technique. This involves repeating the options you have presented to the child in a calm, assertive voice. One of three things is likely to occur: a) S/he may comply. He may do so begrudgingly. b) S/he might escalate in a verbal assault on you and might resort to physical aggression (like hitting). c) S/he might attempt to escape the situation through a
temper tantrum or by running away. If s/he escalates in his/her opposition, you can disengage from the fight by saying, “You are right. I can’t make you ___. I hope you choose to be a part of this classroom.” Turn and walk away. When the child recovers, have him ___ (whatever it was you were wanting him/her to do) and celebrate his accomplishments with him. Recognize how much will power and energy the child harnasses to transform his negative response into a positive one and engage in the ___ process. Celebrate it.Allow ***Healing from the power struggle: 1) Forgive yourself. 2) Talk with the child. “This morning/afternoon/yesterday when it was ___ time, Iyourself to screamed at you/lost my temper, I did these things because I lostheal from control, not because you are bad. Sometimes I think you want to bethe power the boss of the classroom. I am your teacher, and I am in charge. I amstruggle. going to work on being a better boss. ___ seems to be a problem for you. What would help you ___ without such a fight? Can you think of anything that would be helpful so you feel safer?” 3) Create structure. “I made this chart (with pictures) for you. Here is your routine.”All behaviors are “state” dependent. All behaviors are “state” dependent. To get the behavior you want, first notice what state they’re already in. Then ask yourself if they’re in a state that would allow them to say, “Yes.” If not, change their state to a more receptive state before asking them for the behavior you want. In closed states, behavior is predictable; it’s usually, “no way” or “whatever.” To get a more positive response, shift the state first. Better “states” get better results. As an example, before asking students to go to another table, get supplies, or create another group…first ask them to either 1) interact with a neighbor; 2) take a deep breath; 3) use hands or feet. Get them in motion before you ask them to get going. (118-119 in handout)
Discipline for students from poverty… Discipline for students from poverty…• Clear rules, few of them, with student input• More engagement, more activities, less lecture • Clear rules, few of them, with student input• Never use sarcasm or put-downs • Reduce discipline issue with more engagement, more activities, less• Make accommodations• Increase the amount of control students have in class lecture and more responsive teaching • Never use sarcasm or put-downs • Make accommodations for low social and emotional skills • Increase the amount of control students have in class clear rules engagement sarcasm accommodations increase controlAvoid labeling, Avoid labeling, demeaning, or blaming students.demeaning,or blaming It is much easier to condemn a student’s behavior and demand that he change than it is to help the student change it. Rather than telling kids to be respectful, demonstrate appropriate emotional responses and the circumstances in which to use them, and allow students to practice applying them. 19
Avoid demeaning sarcasm (e.g. “How about you actually do your Demeaning sarcasm assignment quietly for a change?”) 21Teachers who criticize, hold negative attitudes and use Teachers who criticize, hold negative attitudes and use sarcasm assarcasm as classroom discipline will activate the stress areasof the student’s brain. This activation alters the student’s classroom discipline will activate the stress areas of the student’sability to think and learn. brain. This activation alters the student’s ability to think and learn. (12 in handout)
Once the amygdala is activated, it takes at least 30-90 minutes to calmdown and activate PFC. Threats, insults, put-downs, and sarcasmactivate the amygdala. (117 in handout)Call on someone not paying attention. What happens? Fight, flight, orfreeze occurs.It is much easier to condemn a student’s behavior and demand that hechange than it is to help the student change it.
Give respect to students first, even when they seem least to deserve it. 21Give respect…even when theyseem least todeserve it.Stop telling kids ***Stop telling kids to “pay attention” and start teaching them how toto “pay attention” do it. (Ask: What does paying attention look like?) (CHAMPS) (44 inand start teaching handout)them how to do it.
E-X-T-E-N-D-E-R-S ***Attention E-X-T-E-N-D-E-R-S: • Prediction because it fuels curiosity and engagement (i.e. • Language arts: predict how a character will act, what will happen next, outcome, etc. • Science: predict the results of an experiment, vote on which object is lighter or faster or decomposes quicker, etc. • Geography: predict which country is further than another from your home town • Math: predict the best strategy, the likely outcome, odd/even, high/low, etc. • Current event tie-in (could be from the neighborhood, sports, show biz, or global)...(i.e. what I try and do with pop-culture) • Advertising “hooks” mean that you create a quick promotion or sales pitch for upcoming content (i.e. use a YouTube video to spark interest, Mike and Mike do this well) • Objects and props can be used as either a tie-in for the lesson or by asking students to make the link (i.e. the glass of water and the amygdala)
Constantly “nudge” students. Constantly “nudge” students. For example, • “Write this down, even if it’s the only thing you write down all day.” • “If your team has not yet collected all the evals, turn to your teammates and say, ‘Let’s do it!’” or say, “Git-r-done.” • “Look on your neighbor’s paper. If the assignment is written correctly, say, ‘Great job!’ if not, wake them up.” • “Take in a slow, deep breath…hold it…and if you are ready to…let it out.” (121 in handout) Other examples? Your turn… Discipline for students from poverty… • Clear rules, few of them, with student input • Reduce discipline issue with more engagement, more activities, less lecture and more responsive teaching • Never use sarcasm or put-downs • Make accommodations for low social and emotional skills • Increase the amount of control students have in class Reinforce effort, not accuracy.
Classroom Safety• If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to guess.• If you have no clue, just say, “I don’t know, but I’d like to know.”• If you guess and you are wrong, you’ll be thanked for your participation and effort.• If you answer correctly, you’ll be thanked for your participation and effort.• You’ll always get credit for participating, whether or not you have the correct answer.• If you turn in, on a piece of paper, at least one subject- related question per day, you’ll pass.Which states do you foster? How? Anticipation Safety Curiosity Trust Boredom Confusion Fear Hope Isolation Confidence Hostility Hunger to learn Frustration Despair Insecurity DisinterestedEmotional punctuation is a “memory marker.” ***Emotional punctuation is a “memory marker.” Event + positive emotions = better memories. Home and classroom might include…verbal affirmations, smiles, physical gestures, head nodding, positive comments, positive music, celebrations, use of name or pre- set celebration rituals. Event + positive emotions = better memories.
Emotional punctuation is a “memory marker.” ***Emotional punctuation is a “memory marker.” Event + positive • verbal affirmations emotions = better memories. Home and classroom might • smiles, physical gestures include…verbal affirmations, smiles, physical gestures, head nodding, • head nodding • positive comments positive comments, positive music, celebrations, use of name or pre- • positive music set celebration rituals. • celebrations • use of name • pre-set celebration rituals Event + positive emotions = better memories.Accommodations are NOT a special Accommodations are NOT a special gift, a bonus, or an unfairgift, a bonus, or an unfair advantage. advantage. What they do is “level the playing field.” They create equal and fair access. You would never be critical of a student who needs to sit in a wheelchair in your class. But how do you feel about students who have a disability like a stress disorder or ADHD? How about students who lack reliable food, transportation, or supplies? Accommodations simply make things fairer.
The Growth Mindset ***How to fuel the growth mindset: • Affirm effort, not talent. • Teach students that the brain is malleable (oh, and teach them that word); it can change through efforts and IQ is not fixed. • Tell and assign success stories about those who overcame obstacles through effort and strategy. • Teach students that the process of learning is as or more important that the result. • Reward the making and correcting of mistakes as much as the end product. • When students don’t get it right the first time say, “That’s too bad. We didn’t match up the work with your level. Maybe next time we can get a better match so you can learn new things.” There’s an age old debate. Are people engaged because they’re smart or are the smart because they’re engaged?
The major factor in whether people achieve expertise is not somefixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement. It’s not about peoplewho start out the smartest, but who end up the smartest.Building a truly adaptable company is a lot of work. It requires ashift in aspirations, behaviors, and management systems. 88
Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, doesn’t divide the people inthe world into the successes and failures. He divides them bymindset—into the learners and nonlearners. How do you dividepeople?Have you ever trusted someone’s negative evaluation of your ability ortalent? Think about it now. How could they judge your potential?Can you think of a time you faced an important opportunity orchallenge with a fixed mindset? What were your thoughts andworries—about your abilities? about other people’s judgments? aboutthe possibility of failure? Describe them vividly.
Have you ever been like Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg—afraid to give something important your full effort? Think of times you’ve done this. Are there other self-defeating ways you try to protect yourself from (meaningful) failure?How to fuel the growth mindset: ***How to fuel the growth mindset: • Affirm effort, not talent.• Teach students that the brain is malleable (oh, and teach • Teach students that the brain is malleable (oh, and teach them that them that word) it can change through efforts and IQ is not fixed. word); it can change through efforts and IQ is not fixed.• Tell and assign success stories about those who overcame obstacles through effort and strategy. • Tell and assign success stories about those who overcame• Teach students that the process of learning is as or more obstacles through effort and strategy. important that the result.• Reward the making and correcting of mistakes as much • Teach students that the process of learning is as or more important as the end product. that the result. • Reward the making and correcting of mistakes as much as the end product. • When students don’t get it right the first time say, “That’s too bad. We didn’t match up the work with your level. Maybe next time we can get a better match so you can learn new things.” What is a “champion’s” mindset? • If I don’t know something, I can learn. • If I failed at something yesterday, today’s a new day with new possibilities. • Success is based on the application of right effort over time, not luck or genetics. • Mistakes are my friend. I just try not to make the same one again A “Champion’s” Mindset
What is a “champion’s” mindset?• If I don’t know something, I can learn.• If I failed at something yesterday, today’s a new day with new possibilities.• Success is based on the application of right effort over time, not luck or genetics.• Mistakes are my friend. I just try not to make the same one again.If you’re staff doesn’t have it, kids won’t learn it. Growth mindset…if you’re staff doesn’t have it, the kids won’t learn it from them.Build relationships among staff. Build relationships among staff. Your students can see whether staff members get along and support one another. A divided staff influences students’ perceptions about the value of relationships, and when staff members aren’t on the same page, odds of success drop dramatically. 91
Embed social skills. Teach basic but crucial meet-and-greet skills. Teach students to face one another, make eye contact, smile, and shake hands. 21 Remind students to thank their classmates after completing collaborative activities. 21Embed social skills. Teach coping skills. Teach coping skills: 1) count to 10 slowly and take 3 breaths; 2) repeat to yourself, “I can be calm and do the right thing.”; 3) sit quietly and look at our posted rules; 4) give yourself a big hug for doing the right thingModel the process of adult thinking. Model the process of adult thinking. For example, say, “We have to get We have to get this this done first because we have only enough time for these 3 things done first because we only have enough time for these three today.” Keep your voice calm and avoid labeling actions. 21 things today.
Build processing skills. ***Build processing skills by 1) creating an experiment to test a hypothesis; 2) use a mentor to walk you through it; 3) follow prompts (e.g. auditory cues, printed cues, tactile cues) Build core skills. When students underperform academically, teachers can use assessments as an initial roadmap to ascertain the range and dept of skill building they need. Of course, assessments don’t measure every skill that students need to succeed in school. Those core skills Build core skills. include • Attention and focus skills • Short- and long-term memory • Sequencing and processing skills • Problem-solving skills • Perseverance and ability to apply skills in the long term • Social skills • Hopefulness and self-esteem 39 What skills matter most for the student’s academic success? • Processing • Attentional focus • Locus of control • Memory (working) • Prioritization • Ordering/sequencing • Deferred gratification Each of these skills are compromised in kids from low-income families (86 in handout)
Assessments don’t measure every Build core skills. When students underperform academically, teachersskill that students need to succeed can use assessments as an initial roadmap to ascertain the range andin school. Core skills include: depth of skill building they need. Of course, assessments don’t• Attention and focus skills• Short- and long-term memory measure every skill that students need to succeed in school. Those• Sequencing and processing skills• Problem-solving skills core skills include• Perseverance • Attention and focus skills• Social skills• Hopefulness and self-esteem • Short- and long-term memory • Sequencing and processing skills • Problem-solving skills • Perseverance and ability to apply skills in the long term • Social skills • Hopefulness and self-esteem 39What skills matter most for the What skills matter most for the student’s academic success?student’s academic success? • Processing• Processing• Attentional focus • Attentional focus•• Locus of control Memory (working) • Locus of control• Prioritization • Memory (working)• Ordering/sequencing• Deferred gratification • PrioritizationEach of these skills are compromised in kids from low- • Ordering/sequencingincome families. • Deferred gratification Each of these skills are compromised in kids from low-income families (86 in handout)
Capture them in the arts, and the academics will follow. 124 Although studying the arts, participating in athletics, etc. may initially seem to be luxuries, especially in at-risk schools, their positive impact on the brain and learning is undeniable. In fact, these “luxuries” may be crucial to student success especially at high-risk schools because they provide students with the memory capacity to juggle multiple functions and retrieve others, speed of operations to prevent multipleCapture them in the arts, and academics will follow… tasks from bogging down the brain, the capacity to sequence, the ability to focus over time, and a positive attitude. 128 It is in our own best interest to incorporate the arts, athletic activities, and advanced placement curriculum into the school day. 118 The arts can build attentional skills, develop processing skills, such as sequencing and manipulation of procedures and data; strengthening memory skills, especially short-term memory; and build life-long, transferrable skills, such as reading. 118 Integration of music in the curriculum can contribute to better academic performance and enhanced neurobiological development. 119 Training in the arts influences cognition because participants become motivated to practice their particular art with intentional focused determination. This motivation typically leads to sustained attention, which leads to greater efficiency of the brain network involved in attention. That improved attention in turn leads to cognitive improvement in many areas including math and science. 119 Arts build your students’ academic operating systems as well as or better than anything else your school offers. 119
Arts support the development of critical neurobiological systems for ALL subject areas. Arts build the needed academic subskills like attention, sequencing, processing, and memory…PLUS the growth mindset. Records of 25,000 students progressing from 8th-10th grade showed that those who studied arts had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records, and were more25,000 students progressing from 8th-10th grade showed active in the community. (Fisk, 1999) (63 in handout)that those who studied arts had higher grades, scored betteron standardized tests, and had better attendance records. Schools that cut physical education time in favor of more “sit-and-get” test prep are missing out on big academic gains. 120 Exercise increases the release of brain-derived neurotropic factor, a protein that supports learning and memory function, repair and maintenance of neural circuits, and the production of brain cells that are crucial to forming the connections the brain needs to learn. It also strengthens cells and protects them from dying out. Exercise increase[s] levels of BDNF in the hippocampus, a brain area involved with learning and memory. Exercise increases the production and functionality of brain cells, which are highly correlated with learning, mood, and memory. Exercise leads to increased levels of calcium, which transported to the brain and enhances dopamine synthesis, making the brain sharper for both cognitive problem solving and working memory. When schools engage kids in high-quality physical education, it improves self-concept and reduces stress and aggression; and it improves academic performance. 120 [In studies] higher fitness levels were associated with higher achievement. 120
Provide opportunities for voluntary, gross motor, repetitive activity 5# of new brain cells produced per day days per week (i.e. running, bicycling, swimming, power-walking, aerobics, school sports, etc.). Experiments show exercise doubles production of new brain cells. 4000 Exercise 30 minutes per day 3-5 times per week and student success: with exercise • Triggers BDNF growth factors 2000 without • Increases brain cells exercise • Upregulates serotonin (mood, attention, memory, and neurogenesis) • Increases heart rate • Increases catecholamines • Builds cortical mass • Enhances cognitive arousal (62 in handout) Make daily exercise a priority. Why? No other strategy will BOTH reduce the devastating effects of chronic stress AND raise production of new brain cells AND increase attentional sequencing, memory skills and boost fun! ***Go for walks. • Many students will talk more while walking than seated • It gives student a chance to socialize and bond • Many students get restless from too much sitting • Memory improves while walking • Walking releases useful brain chemicals for learning (Schaefer, S., Lovden, M., Wieckhorst, B. and Lindenberger, U. (2010) Cognitive performance is improved while walking.) (78 in handout)
Sensory motor labs are another way to Sensory motor labs are another way to help jump-start academics.help jump-start academics. Many kids, especially those from poverty, do not have the essential brain wiring for academic success. Sensory motor labs increase cognitive achievement at a much greater rate than simple, boring, brain-unfriendly seatwork does.Relationships are What all students do bring to school are 3 strong “relational” forcesstrong mediators that drive their school behaviors:of stress. Students want the safety of a primary safe and reliable relationship. Students would prefer parents, positive friends, and teachers, but they’d take an “iffy” friend if no one else were available. The relationships that teachers build with students form the single strongest access to student goals, socialization, motivation, and academic performance. 20 Build relationships among students. 92 Build student-staff relationships. This may seem obvious, but for kids raised in poverty, it’s a make-or-break factor. 93Relationship and status builders: ***Relationship and status builders:• Call students by last name (i.e. Ms. Wilson) • Call students by last name (i.e. Mr. Jefferson or Ms. Wilson) to learn• Rotate and reframe classroom jobs so everyone can get and earn respect status roles over time• Include students in the running of your class and school • Rotate and reframe classroom jobs so everyone can get status roles• Create directory of all students that lists positive skills and/or qualities over time• Honor and appreciate differences • Create directory of all students that lists positive skills and/or qualities (activity at 212 meeting) • Honor and appreciate differences • Include students in the running of your class and school (planning, eating lunch, etc.) (57 in handout)
What do academic mentors do?• Role model passion in learning• Offer resources regarding learning strategies• Affirm relationships with students• Demonstrate interest in course content• Refer students to services as needed (56 in handout)Relationship checklist:• An assigned mentor for every student (or were you going to wait until they drop out)• A collective school family (the first day of class is perfect for this)• A team/group or club to belong to (team creates a sense of belonging)• An activity for each student to learn names and more about of every student in class since they are unlikely to do it on their own) (55 in handout)Compared to control group, the mentored students:• Were more optimistic about their academics• Were 32% less likely to hit someone• Skipped 78% fewer days• Were in fewer antisocial activities• Missed a day of school 52% less• Had a higher GPA• Skipped class 37% less• Were 37% less likely to lie to a parent• Experienced better peer relationships• Were less likely to initiate alcohol use by 27%• Were less likely to initiate drug use by 46%• More likely to give emotional supportJekielek, S., Moore, K. Hair, E. and Scarupa, H. (2002) Mentoring: APromising Strategy for Youth Development. Child Trends Briefing. (56in handout)
Adults who build trusting, supportive relationships with low-SESstudents help foster those students’ independence and self-esteemand protect them from the deleterious effects of poverty. Principals,teachers, counselors, and coaches must provide the much-neededoutstretched hand that will help children lift themselves out of thepoverty cycle. 94What all students do bring to school are 3 strong “relational” forcesthat drive their school behaviors:The quest for importance and social status. Students compete forattention and social elevation by choosing roles that will distinguishthem (e.g. athlete, comedian, storyteller, gang leader, scholar, or stylemaverick). Kids are very interested in what other kids do, whetherothers like them, and how they rate on the social scale. 20
Some schools try to make kids “smarter” by simply trying to stuff more curriculum into their brains. This strategy is not supported by science and typically backfires by making students feel overmatched or bored. Kids raised in poverty need more than just content; they need capacity. 54“You will hit a test score ceiling until you include We keep giving TAKS sheet after TAKS sheet and wonder why aren’tstudents’ emotional and social lives in your they getting it?school.” You will hit a test score ceiling until you include students’ emotional and social lives in your school makeover. 20 What all students do bring to school are 3 strong “relational” forces that drive their school behaviors: 2) The strengthening of peer socialization. Socialization is the drive for acceptance that encourages students to imitate their peers and join groups, from clubs to cliques to gangs. Students want to belong somewhere. 20
Be inclusive. Create a familial atmosphere by using inclusive and affiliative language. For example, always refer to the school as “our school” and the class as “our class;” avoid using a me-and-you model that reinforces power structures; acknowledge students who make it to class, and thank them for small things; celebrate effort as well as achievement; praise students for reaching milestones as well as for fulfilling end goals ***Examples: • Join a school clubWhat’s in your school? • Take sides in class with another student • Cooperative learning groups or partners • Be on a sports team • Hang out with a cluster of friends • Have a boyfriend/girlfriend • Be a teachers close ally or stay after class • Be in a group that plays music, dances, theater, etc. • Go shopping, travel, entertainment
“Educators have stories or our results. Those who Ultimately, all we educators have are our stories or our results. Thosedon’t get results often cling to their stories about whysuccess eludes them. Those who get results simply who don’t get results often cling to their stories about why successpoint to the numbers and say, “We did it!” eludes them. Those who get results simply point to the numbers and say, “We did it!” To these teachers, it’s all about the problems inherent in disadvantaged children’s circumstances. 80 Call, write, or visit… (940) 369-0676 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dentonisd.org/ federalprograms www.facebook.com/ cshadedentonisd www.twitter.com/ cshadedentonisd www.youtube.com/ cshadedentonstaff